Many organizations are realizing that in order to compete, they must follow the triple-bottom line model: people, planet and prosperity. Under this ideology, these leaders contribute to their communities by creating a sustainable business plan that helps to redevelop their cities as well as strengthen economic value in the area and increase the health and wealth of its people.
Even before this particular business ideology became known, Akron Mayor Don Plusquellic introduced a sustainability plan on Earth Day 2009 called Greenprint for Akron. The purpose was to create an environmental partnership to foster a sustainable, eco-friendly community through education and leadership. Since that time, the city has not only been setting and achieving its own sustainable goals, but its partnership with Summit County has encouraged local businesses and nonprofits to do the same.
The City of Akron, Summit County, the Greater Akron Chamber of Commerce and ReWorks were eager to join this environmental forum, along with Keep Akron Beautiful, as founding partners of the Summit of Sustainability Awards.
In order to broaden the spectrum of organizational involvement, the idea for the SOSA program was conceived to not only recognize Summit County organizations that have taken up the sustainability challenge, but also to share the award winners’ best sustainable business practices with all businesses, nonprofits, schools, governments and civic organizations in Northeast Ohio.
These practices can then be emulated by organizations that may not know how to begin a sustainability plan. This is the third year that the winning applications, with coordinating professional videos, are displayed on the program website www.summitofsustainability.org.
This year, the planning committee added a Sustainable Medal category for those applicants whose overall submission did not place first in their respective category, but whose sustainability data did warrant recognition in a specific program area. Of the SOSA 2014 applications, Omnova Solutions Inc. displayed an amazing ability to conserve water, while Habitat for Humanity of Summit County is leading the way in Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design certified residential building practices, using energy-saving appliances.
SOSA 2014 program applicants were judged on their implementation of business sustainability plans and the significance of their results and metrics when evaluated against the organization’s size and available resources.
Esteemed judges reviewed each applicant’s energy, building, waste and water management, chemical management, purchasing program, environmental awareness and green innovation. Over the following pages, we are proud to recognize the 2014 winners, with a tie in the Nonprofit/Community category, whose efforts embody people, planet and prosperity.